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Subject: Re: Bonynge Interview about Pavarotti
From: Robert Cardinalli <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:26:52 +0000
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Les makes a very compelling and sympathetic argument for why Pavarotti became a sad victim of his success.   Is there anything sadder than the sight of Pavarotti in the box at his Kennedy Center Honour, looking far older than his years, hair and beard jet blacked yet trying to look like the reigning star tenor of the day.  


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On Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 7:16 PM +0300, "Les Mitnick" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:










Personally, I think that Mr. Bonynge is being very kind, yet truthful. Luciano Pavarotti became virtually impossible to deal with after 1980. I'm not here to trash him because I don't think it's respectful. However, I maintain that there's a dark side to the Pavarotti story. The voice in the late 1960s and all of the 1970s was a golden miracle. But there were portents in the wind. The monstrous obesity that came from compulsive overeating, the constant cancellations, the external jolliness which contrasted with the internal and personal difficulties, and the determination of Herbert Breslin to turn him into a "cash cow" all took a terrible toll. Soon came his physical problems (which were inevitable), brought on by the debilitating obesity, and the rest is history. He gave Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge a lot of aggravation and problems. As Mr. Bonynge pointed out, the total lack of ability to read music, the unreliable behavior (showing up to recording sessions for "Maria Stuarda" not even knowing the role, thus causing the project to be delayed a year), and the direction that was taken towards heavy roles made the Bonynge's "keep their distance" as much as possible. Sutherland did not suffer fools gladly and nor did Bonynge. 
They considered Pavarotti to have been lazy and unwilling to do the work which was really necessary to make him a great artist. A loved and natural singer with a great vocal endowment, certainly yes. But those qualities, formidable as they are, do not an artist make. Both Sutherland, and of course, Callas, both worked like slaves and dogs to improve their respective arts, expanding their repertoires, their music, and their careers. Pavarotti would do none of that. 
I think that Mr. Bonynge, while saddened that Pavarotti chose the path he did, nevertheless was happy that the very close artistic association came to an end. They made Pavarotti a star, but the "star" really started splintering in around 1980. There were no more complete opera recordings of bel canto operas (save for a very much maligned Norma with Caballe, and a very late and vocally wretched recording of Ernani in 1988). The 1987 Trovatores at the Met (which marked Sutherland's last Met performances) DID have the Manrico of Pavarotti, but who whole show was hijacked by the intense and demonic Azucena on Shirley Verrett. 
Sutherland ended her career (albeit probably a few years too late) in grace and with fanfare. Pavarotti did not. 
I find it kinda scary that both Pavarotti and Johan Botha died of a cancer in the digestive system. It's a sad story of conspicuous consumption if ever there was one. Pavarotti was lucky that his voice (or at least most of it) endured as long as it did. I don't view it as a happy and unblemished career by a long shot. Something went very wrong after 1980. 



From: "Isaac Alan"  
To: "OPERA-L"  
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2016 4:33:13 AM 
Subject: Re: Bonynge Interview about Pavarotti 

Yes he does hold back, but he also lets out a little at times. I have often thought that 
Bonynge is something of a gossip, but he doesn't let too much slip here, and neither does he surprise. I am sure that most of us 
will recognize the ring of truth regarding the strengths and weaknesses of our beloved tenor. 

Regards, 
Isaac Alan 
________________________________ 
From: Discussion of opera and related issues  on behalf of Max D. Winter  
Sent: Wednesday, 28 September 2016 6:02:14 PM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Bonynge Interview about Pavarotti 

This is an interesting interview Richard Bonynge gave about Pavarotti 
shortly after the tenor's death: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYJ8Wp2U6w8 

Bonynge is obviously trying to apply the principle, "De mortuis nil nisi 
bonum." But some stuff slips out - mainly in the form of facial expressions 
and unfinished sentences! 

MDW 

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